Lee County Property Appraiser's Office
I am pleased to present to you our approved 2012–2013 budget. Compared with other Property Appraiser’s budgets we continue to have one of the lowest
costs per parcel in the State. The approved 2012-2013 budget represents a decrease of more than 2% from the previous budget and represents our
continuing effort to bring you more with less. Below you will find links to our approved budget, a link to a comparison sheet with all Florida
Property Appraiser’s Offices and our At-A-Glance informational sheet.
Property Appraiser’s Budgetary Funding & Relationship to Other Governmental Units
The Lee County Property Appraiser is an elected Constitutional Officer, noted as an Executive County officer in the Lee County Charter, who serves the people of Lee County. The constitutional office of property appraiser retains a clear and distinct separation from the county government aside from its inclusion in the county charter. The Property Appraiser’s office is not a County department under the Board of County Commissioners and receives oversight and annual approval, for both the assessment of property and the budget, exclusively from the Florida Department of Revenue.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 195.087, on or before June 1st of each year, every property appraiser, regardless of the form of county government, shall submit to the Department of Revenue a budget for the operation of the property appraiser’s office for the ensuing fiscal year beginning October 1st.
The Lee County Property Appraiser’s office continually seeks opportunities to enhance the quality and value of services offered to the taxpayer. Over the last five years, the Property Appraiser’s office has made great strides in reducing its annual budget by effectively utilizing new technology and maximizing employee strengths and productivity, while taking steps to cut costs. The table and chart below displays a six-year budget history and illustrates a five-year budget reduction of $2,368,456 (21.18%). In that same time period, the number of full-time positions has been reduced by 19 (16.10%). It is our goal to continue to seek cost cutting measures while providing the highest quality of service the taxpayers expect and deserve from our office.
The Property Appraiser’s budget is established in accordance with Florida law to ensure that adequate resources are available to fund the operations of the office to produce an annual tax roll that meets all standards of the law. Unlike some other constitutional offices, funding for the property appraiser’s budget is based upon fees for services rendered pursuant to Section 192.091, Florida Statutes. This statute provides that the budget of the property appraiser’s office, as approved by the Department of Revenue, is the basis upon which various taxing authorities in the county are billed for services rendered. The county commission pays a higher percentage of the budget billing because the school system and the municipalities have been excluded by the legislature from paying their share of the cost, thus forcing the county general fund to provide a much larger share of the annual commissions paid to the Property Appraiser.
The County Commission has no control over the Property Appraiser’s budget, and with good reason. Among the many reasons for this, the most obvious relates to the checks and balances provided by the independence of an elected property appraiser. No entity which sets property tax millage rates should control, in any fashion, the process which sets the assessed value of property for tax purposes. The property appraiser serves all taxing authorities: the county commission, school board, cities, special districts, multi-county authorities, and is therefore not controlled by any one of them. The framers of the current system were extremely careful to create these checks and balances so those who set tax rates have no control over the entity which sets property values. In other words, “the fox cannot guard the hen house.”
Under state agency oversight and audits, the property appraiser is not vulnerable to undue influence by any governmental authority that relies upon property values for revenue.
Please feel free to contact our Office if you should have any questions.
Kenneth M. Wilkinson, CFA
Lee County Property Appraiser